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HUM2302 – Science, Class and Culture - Conceptual Wars pdf

Credits: 3 (3/0/0)
Description: Meets MnTC Goal Areas 2 and 6. Choose one: (A) Science gives us objective knowledge of an independently existing reality. (B) Scientific knowledge is always provisional and tells us nothing that is universal, necessary or certain about the world. If you're having trouble deciding which option seems the most plausible, then you are a part of a long-running battle over the status of scientific knowledge that began in ancient Greece, raged furiously among scientists, social scientists and humanists during the 1990s, and has re-emerged in today's conflict between science and religion over issues such as evolution. The battle, at least for our purpose, is being waged on the conceptual front. To put it another way, in a world where exaggeration, hyperbole and, unfortunately, falsehoods are the norm and rarely corrected, the war seems to be against conceptual clarity. While this can take many different forms, it seems to manifest itself most often as a kind of rabid skepticism where nothing is considered knowledge and all opinions are considered equally valid. Thus, we have an inchoate skeptical position that can be applied to science, culture, politics, ethics, language, medicine, etc.
Prerequisites: (None)
Corequisites: (None)
  1. Explore the moral and cultural context within which these wars are taking place.
  2. Compare and critique the interrelation of the different wars at the cultural and moral levels.
  3. Construct informed and relevant arguments that can clearly distinguish the types of wars and their background positions.
  4. Generate and formulate positions regarding recurring themes covered in the texts and in class.
  5. Examine the conceptual problems that may arise from adopting conceptually inconsistent positions.
  6. Analyze and articulate the logical connections between the concepts and arguments, particularly those positions used in multiple disputes.
  7. Identify and evaluate any implicit value assumptions made by different advocates on both sides of the issue.
  8. Assess the theoretical and practical implications that follow from having these ongoing cultural, political and scientific disputes.
  9. Identify the implicit cultural and moral presuppositions made by advocates on both sides of the issue.
MnTC goal areas:
  • (2) Critical Thinking
  • (6) The Humanities and Fine Arts

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